DataCenter


Overview

So you’re working with SLES or SLED, and someone asks you if a particular package or product is supported. What do you do? Of all the options available, I refer constantly to the following pages and references to make sure I give accurate and helpful information to the querying person.

Where to Go

The top page I usually refer people to in this case is the Tech Specs section. On this page is listed SLES, SLED and Partner hardware and software support links. If I click on the “SuSE Linux Enterprise Server” link, I will reach the technical specifications page for SuSE Linux Enterprise Server. We’ve seen this page in other posts, such as How Many ____’s Does SLES Support? – Part I, where we discussed Kernel Limits and File System Features.

The chief thing I want to determine when someone asks me about a particular package’s support is that we do include it in our distributions. I query the person about what version and patch level they want to know about, and then click on the appropriate link, which is listed in the paragraph below the menu tabs, “see the list of supported packages”.

This link leads me to the “SuSE Linux Enterprise Server Supported Packages page, where for example I will pick the link for “SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 SP1 for X86“, a PDF file that I can then search for a package by pressing Ctrl-f, and typing the name I’m looking for, either in my browser, or my PDF reader that popped up.

All Together Now

My example would be someone asking me if there is support for Mono (a Dot Net compatible server solution) on SLES 10 SP1, both on the X86 and System Z platforms.

Those PDF files will tell me very quickly that there is support all the way to Level 3 for SLES 10 SP1 on X86 and the IBM System Z Mainframe.

Hopefully this will help you determine quickly what packages are included in the various distributions and patch levels, and make it easier to find what level of support is provided for those packages.

Enjoy,

RossB

From the article:

Return on Investment… the holy grail of IT.

Simply put, ROI is defined as the “ratio of money gained or lost on an investment relative to the amount of money invested”. One formula used to determine ROI is “net income plus interest divided by the book value of assets equals Return On Investment.“

In real terms, when you invest in a technology for your business, it’s about more than that. IT-related ROI often needs to provide cost savings, rather than generate revenue. In the case of virtualization for consolidation, this is often a simple calculation made difficult by many variables.

More here.

It’s been a whole year since the ground-breaking Novell-Microsoft Collaboration Agreement was signed and announced. The one-stop shop for official info is here: http://www.moreinterop.com So far, despite the noise in the press, MANY customers have decided to take advantage of the many benefits that the agreement brings to the table. Here’s a list of all 46 of the customers who are allowing us to mention them publicly. They include some of the largest and most recognizable organizations in the world – Wal-Mart, BMW, Costco, HSBC, Nationwide, Siemens and Southwest Airlines just to name a few…

  • 1blu
  • Abraxas Informatik AG
  • ADIF
  • AFG IT Consulting
  • Arsys
  • Arsys Internet S.L.
  • Baker Hughes
  • BATS Trading Inc.
  • BMW AG
  • State of California, Department of Fish and Game
  • State of California Department of Technology Services
  • Cash Converters International Ltd.
  • CHRISTUS Health
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • City of Los Angeles
  • CompuCom Systems Inc.
  • Conductor Tecnologia S.A.
  • Costco Wholesale Corp.
  • Flagstar Bank
  • Fujitsu Services Oy
  • Gordon Food Service
  • Gulfstream Aerospace Corp.
  • hi5 Networks Inc.
  • Host Europe
  • HSBC
  • iLoop Mobile Inc.
  • Leicester City Council
  • Kent County, Mich.
  • Mercury Insurance
  • Nationwide
  • Pioneer Corp.
  • PRISACOM SA
  • Reed Elsevier
  • Riverside County, Calif.
  • Save Mart Supermarkets
  • Siemens Corp.
  • South Carolina Department of Probation, Pardon and Parole Services
  • Southwest Airlines Co.
  • Swiss Post
  • Synovus Financial Corp.
  • TDC Hosting
  • T-Systems Enterprise Services GmbH
  • Wal-Mart
  • Washington State Department of Information Services
  • Westmont College
  • Zabka Polska S.A.
  • Links here, here and here

On top of all these customers, several other developments in the relationship have occurred during the first year. Novell and Microsoft have completed building out and are now doing real engineering work and interoperability testing in the Microsoft and Novell Interoperability Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts. More info on the lab is in the recent press release. Dell signed on as a partner for the agreement as well, working to help Linux customers with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

And most recently, Novell and Microsoft extended the agreement by agreeing to work together to make it easier for all software developers to develop applications for users with disabilities, such as blindness. From the press release:

Microsoft will make available its User Interface Automation (UIA) specification, an advanced accessibility framework that simplifies the development of assistive technology products for people with one or more disabilities, and pledge not to assert any Microsoft patents necessary to implement the specification against anyone, regardless of platform, in the open source and proprietary software communities. In concert, to promote interoperability between leading accessibility frameworks in the market, Novell will develop and deliver an adapter that allows the UIA framework to work well with existing Linux accessibility projects and complement the investments made by IBM Corp. and others. Novell’s work will be open source and will make the UIA framework cross-platform while enabling UIA to interoperate with the Linux Accessibility Toolkit (ATK), which ships with SUSE Linux Enterprise, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Ubuntu Linux. The UIA solution will ensure interoperability of nonvisual access to the next generation of software applications.

“Microsoft’s commitment to make the specification for UIA freely available to others to implement, coupled with Novell’s plans to develop and deliver an adapter that allows Linux accessibility projects to work well with the UIA framework, are tremendous examples of how industry can come together to tackle interoperability problems for blind persons,” said Dr. Marc Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind. “The NFB challenges the entire IT industry to continue to look for creative opportunities such as this to solve longstanding interoperability challenges and reduce development barriers to accessibility.”

From the article:

The emergence of global standards for measuring the energy efficiency of datacentres moved a step closer yesterday with the launch of a raft of new research papers from green IT industry consortium The Green Grid.

The consortium has released an updated version of its Datacentre Energy Efficiency Metrics whitepaper that incorporates infrastructure efficiency into the original metrics.

It also said that it expects its Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) and Datacentre efficiency metric for assessing the proportion of power going into a datacentre that is used to power the IT kit to be adopted by the industry and used by all datacentres to report their efficiency.

More here.

Interesting:

Virtual Machine Additions for Linux are designed to improve the usability and interoperability of running qualified Linux operating systems as guests or virtual machines of Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1.

Now with support for SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 10
Microsoft is committed to testing and supporting many third-party operating systems for use as guest operating systems on Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1 virtual machines. To help make sure that you have a favorable experience when you run third-party guest operating systems in Virtual Server 2005, Microsoft Product Support Services (PSS) has created a product support model for these third-party guest operating systems. This support model is consistent with the support model that is used for Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1. Product support for the Virtual Machine Additions will be provided through the normal support channels available for Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1.

More here.

From the article:

CHICAGO — At the Data Center Decisions conference in Chicago on Monday, Oct. 22, controversial comments from Jon Toigo, CEO and managing principal of Dunedin, Fla.-based Toigo Partners International LLC, had attendees shaking their heads in bewilderment.

For one, Toigo advised attendees against using VMware in favor of mainframe systems, calling the virtualization software “shoddy” in comparison. But nearly all conference attendees were assembled to learn about implementing virtualization in their data center.

Toigo is knowledgeable about disaster recovery (DR) planning, which was the topic of his keynote session, but he warned users against ever feeling completely secure with their disaster recovery plans.

More here.

Ok, so my title is a little misleading, there’s not any rivalry between the different areas of Novell and SUSE, other than the usual desire to see your business unit succeed just a little more “betterly” than the other units do. It’s all about friendly competition.

What’s Red vs. Green?

What I’m referring to (with Red vs. Green) is the necessary dividing line between the traditional Novell business units like Workgroup (Netware, Open Enterprise Server, Groupwise etc.) which I think of as “Red”, and the newer and Open Source-centric business unit called Open Platform Solutions (SLES, SLED, SLERT, SLEPOS etc.), which I think of as “Green”. (Get it? SUSE Green, like the Gecko?)

I have come up with the analogy and strategy of Red vs. Green as a way of helping partners, customers and the casual passerby understand that depending on which Novell/SUSE products they have, they will likely benefit most from a particular set of products and growth options.

“I See Red”

My experience has been that if a customer is “Red”, they’re almost always firmly ensconced in and using the Novell services throughout the enterprise, with some confusion as to how and why they might make use of Linux. The first order of business is to determine how much they know about Linux in general, and in particular Novell’s use of SUSE Linux Enterprise in it’s product lines. After hundreds of these discussions, we can get everyone on the same page with a little discussion, some Q&A and a handy whiteboard in short order.

How Does This Work?

For example, in a conversation with faux customer Air America, I find they have a long-standing Netware infrastructure for File and Print, do a little clustering for Groupwise and use iPrint for printing with all account management taking place through an Identity management setup and eDirectory. They have Windows workstations that make full use of the Netware Client and it’s services. I’d already lean toward “Red” strategy with them, but they might be toying with the idea of going “over to Linux”, so I go a little further.

The questions I ask them are very simple and straightforward:

  • Do you have any data on NSS volumes?
  • Do you use any of the advanced features of NSS?
  • Do you have Novell Clustering Services or Business Continuity Clustering set up?
  • Do you have a very large number of printers?
  • Do your people have Novell Client software on their computers for access to the network?

A “yes” answer to any of these questions points to the Open Enterprise Server (with Version 2, OES = Linux base, Novell’s standard services converted to run great on Linux layered on top). Novell has spent a lot of time and effort to make it as effortless as possible to have this type of organization migrate up to OES, there is a very complete and clear path for this customer to begin to use Linux-based Novell services with the least disruption possible and often at a considerable cost-savings.

I will try if possible to help them see where “Green” might fit in, either for hosting Groupwise or other services, such as Mono (Dot Net compatible server), Virtualization (Xen) or any of a host of other possibilities. Usually this type of customer will stay “Red” and for good reason.

“It’s Easy Being Green”

On the other side of this equation, I will find customers who don’t have a lick of “Red” in their environment, and these are usually standard UNIX shops on the server side, usually either a Solaris or AIX flavor, some HP-UX, but they’ll be using mostly Windows on the client side. Usually if they say “No” to my “Got any Novell products or Netware around?”, they will go “Green” easily.

The discussion with this client is much easier, they’re a classic “Green” customer, all the services and tools they are used to using have an analog (equivalent) in the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server/Desktop product line. Once I determine they have no Netware products in the organization, we don’t even talk about “Red vs. Green”, it’s not relevant, they can even run eDirectory and Zenworks Linux Management on SLES, no “Red” needed.

I additionally will probe to see if they have any Terminal Server or Citrix/Ericom deployed for application security and updateability, if they do, it makes the Linux Desktop play much more likely, especially if they make use of TS/Citrix as a desktop solution. How compelling is $50 or less a seat for the presentation OS on the desktop versus $239 or so for the oddly-shaped box o’ Vista?

Got any changes or suggestions to this whole Red vs. Green thing? I’m constantly getting feedback and changing it, let me know and I’ll credit you and update it.

Enjoy,

RossB

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